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State v. Parks

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

November 13, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
BOBBY LEWIS PARKS

          Assigned on Briefs September 4, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 17-286 Donald H. Allen, Judge.

         Defendant, Bobby Lewis Parks, pled guilty to possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Defendant attempted to reserve a certified question of law regarding the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence found pursuant to a search warrant. Additionally, Defendant challenges the trial court's imposition of a thirty-year sentence. Based upon our review of the record, we conclude that Defendant failed to properly preserve his certified question of law and dismiss that portion of his appeal. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed in Part; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed.

          Joseph T. Howell, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby Lewis Parks.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jody Pickens, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown and Matt Floyd, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE.

         On February 14, 2017, officers with the Jackson-Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at Defendant's residence and found over 20 grams of crack cocaine in the living room, as well as a digital scale and close to $5000 in cash. Defendant admitted that everything found belonged to him and stated that he sold drugs to pay his medical bills. As a result, Defendant was indicted for one count of possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell, one count of possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to deliver, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

         On June 29, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the search of his home, alleging that the affidavit in support of the search warrant did not establish probable cause. According to Defendant, the affidavit contained "broad and vague assertions," which "cast doubt on the reliability of the confidential informant's information" under the totality of the circumstances. The trial court held a hearing on the motion on July 24, 2018, at which the affidavit was entered as an exhibit, [1] but no witnesses testified. Reading the affidavit, the trial court found that the officer applying for the warrant had received "information from a reliable confidential informant that there was crack cocaine being sold at that residence within the past 72 hours." The affidavit also identified Defendant as the person possessing and selling the cocaine and stated that the confidential informant had provided information determined to be reliable in the past. The trial court found that the affidavit showed the informant's basis of knowledge and reliability. The trial court concluded that "the affidavit clearly shows enough information under the totality of the circumstances to establish probable cause for the issuance of a warrant" and denied the motion to suppress.

         That same day, Defendant pled guilty without an agreed-upon sentence to the merged count of possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, and the possession of drug paraphernalia count was dismissed.[2] As part of the guilty plea agreement, Defendant was to reserve a certified question of law regarding the denial of his motion to suppress. On September 13, 2018, the trial court entered an agreed order setting forth the following:

This matter came to be heard [o]n this the 12th day of September, 2018[, ] upon agreement of the parties to allow the Defendant to reserve and pursue a certified question of law as to the denial of his motion to suppress the search of his residence on or about February 14, 2017, at the time the sentence imposed in this cause. After reviewing the motion and hearing statements from appointed counsel for the Defendant and counsel for the State, and reviewing the record as a whole, it appears that it would be appropriate to allow the [D]efendant the opportunity to seek appellate review of the preserved certified question of law and any sentence imposed before the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that the Defendant shall be granted the opportunity to preserve a certified question of law as to the denial of his motion to suppress in which he asserted that the affidavit and search warrant lacked sufficient probable cause to sustain the search of his residence on or about February 14, 2017, which was heard on or about July 23, 2018, at which time the Court found that there was sufficient probable cause to sustain the search warrant and further appeal any sentence imposed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that this Order shall be incorporated by reference with the Judgements ...

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